It’s not here yet, but winter is definitely coming to Minnesota—and food and drink establishments know they need to get creative. To keep customers engaged in the face of COVID-19, Forgotten Star Brewing Co. in Fridley decided it wouldn’t be enough to just throw some heaters out on the patio (which they are doing, as well). The plan is to make like Sociable Cider Werks did this past winter and turn part of its outdoor space into an ice skating rink.
Why? “Since we’ve opened, we have made it our goal to be a community spot,” says co-founder Andy Risvold. “Giving families a place to bring their kids this winter, where they can feel safe and have fun was a natural pivot for us. We also love that we will be able to host leagues with the rink. Curling and Boot Hockey leagues will start early January, and we will be donating league dues to Fridley Youth Athletics.”
The rink’s dimensions will be 72 feet by 32 feet, and it will be situated on a grass patio east of the Forgotten Star building. As Sociable and Maple Tavern have done in previous winters, the brewery have IceTime MN booked to do the job when the conditions are right.
The plan comes along with lights, a heated tent, and a membership program ranging from $20 to $600—with swag and growler options to sweeten the deal—to help cover the costs.
Risvold admits that business has not been easy since the start of the pandemic, and certainly not what they imagined in their very first year. “With that said, however, our team is incredible and has rolled with every punch and taken it in stride,” he says.
Forgotten Star opened last November in a huge 9,000-square-foot space with 24-foot ceilings that once housed the boiler room of a huge manufacturing facility. It’s inside the Northern Stacks complex just west of Columbia Heights and south of I-694. It could hold a pre-COVID capacity of more than 450 people, and he argues that it makes being indoors “one of the safest brewery environments in the state.”
The brewery’s one-year anniversary is set to include five charity-oriented days of celebration on November 12-16, and Risvold says a barrel-aged beer program is coming later this winter.
For more information, visit Forgotten Star Brewing Co.’s website.